This document contains excerpts from the 2009 Quadrennial Program Report for the Business Special Surveys and Technology Statistics Program covering the 2005/06 – 2008/09 reference period. Statistics Canada has established an integrated program evaluation and reporting system. In that system, statistical programs undergo a full program evaluation every four years. A component of the evaluation is the extent to which existing statistical products and services continue to meet the evolving needs of clients.
Nature of client consultations
A client satisfaction survey was conducted by Client Services Division in late 2009 on behalf of Business Special Surveys and Technology Statistics Division (BSSTSD). A standard corporate electronic questionnaire was used to assess both the satisfaction and the importance of various issues. Statistics Canada confirmed that this questionnaire was received by 458 clients. Fifty-two clients replied, for a response rate of 11%. Given this low response rate, the composition of survey respondents was profiled to determine if it was representative. Survey results were supplemented by insight gained from formal and informal consultations.
Before results were analyzed, clients who responded to this survey were profiled by the organizations they represented, as well as by the roles they played within those organizations. Forty-six percent of responding clients were federal government users. Clients from provincial/territorial governments, the education sector, and the non-profit sector each made up an additional 10% of respondents, respectively. Two-thirds of responding clients (66%) were managers, senior managers or economists. Although the 11% response rate might not be strongly representative, this concentration of clients who are managers and economists in the federal sector is a significant community of BSSTSD clients.
Client uses of BSSTSD products and services
One-quarter to one-third of clients (depending on area of purchase: Science and Technology: Telecommunications and Broadcasting: Cost-Recovery Surveys and Data Integration) responded that they use data for research or analysis. An additional 20% to 25% of clients (again, depending on area of purchase) reported using our data for policy analysis or development. The remainder reported equally using our data to plan, develop, and evaluate programs and services and using our data to model, forecast, and plan business issues.
For both the standard and custom outputs of the base and cost-recovery programs, timeliness is the key consideration for clients. Consistently timeliness was ranked at the top level of importance for Science and Technology (S&T) and Telecommunications and Broadcasting (T&B) base programs, as well as for cost-recovery surveys and data integration products. Satisfaction with timeliness was ranked lower than importance, suggesting work is needed to improve in this area. Since clients often view relevance as synonymous with timeliness, it was not surprising that relevance is the second-highest consideration of our clients. Ninety to one-hundred percent of them ranked it at the top levels of importance. Satisfaction with relevance is higher for the standard outputs of both base and cost-recovery programs than for their custom outputs, which is not surprising given the additional time required to specify, tabulate and undertake disclosure evaluations of these more complex outputs.
Recognizing that widely-accessible content helps clients determine, refine and acquire data for themselves, BSSTSD increased its presence on CANSIM and on the Statistics Canada website area known during the review period as Canadian Statistics. The division also publishes metadata that addresses frequently-asked questions in our Working Papers series. Data are now available electronically on the federal R&D survey, on the annual and quarterly surveys of telecommunications, and on several occasional surveys. In response to user inquiries and client feedback, work is now underway to strengthen geography and industry Research and Development (R&D) detail in CANSIM with new matrices scheduled for release in the fall of 2010.
Statistics Canada thanks participants for their participation in this consultation. Their insights guide the Agency's web development and ensure that the final products meet users' expectations.